Saturday, July 20, 2013


Daubert Hearing

If you wanted to introduce the climate models' predictions of global warming in the 21st Century into evidence at a court trial you would first have to show that the climate models are not junk science. That would involve a hearing under the Daubert case et al., where you would have to show that the models qualify as scientific knowledge; that is, they are the product of sound "scientific methodology" derived from the scientific method.

The Daubert Court defined "scientific methodology" as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify the hypothesis. The Court provided a non-dispositive, nonexclusive, "flexible" set of "general observations" (i.e. not a "test") that it considered relevant for establishing the "validity" of scientific testimony. These include:

  1. Empirical testing: whether the theory or technique is falsifiable, refutable, and/or testable.
  2. Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication.
  3. The known or potential error rate.
  4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation.
  5. The degree to which the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.
The University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer said at a government sponsored panel on climate change this past week that the climate models would not pass the Daubert tests because the models have not been successfully field tested for predicting climate change, and so far their error rate should preclude their use for predicting future climate change.

Sounds right to me.

(h/t Wikipedia for refreshing my memory regarding Daubert. I was educated on the Frye test only).


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